Electricians? Anyone? Electrical Question!!


Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 2, 2011
So... I heard a weird buzzing sound... and thought it was coming from around the corner near my door... so I went to check it out.

The outlet looked fine (
) and the one cord plugged in there looked secure... but I was curious about the noise and almost certain it sounded like electricity... so I very carefully and very quicky pulled the cord (from the big prong area) out of the socket. I pulled it in such a way that the cord flew out of my hand once it was out (because I'm a scardey cat, LOL) and it's a good thing I did! Blue electric went zapping out.. and looked like it did an arc back into the socket.. I can't be sure what it did, it happened so fast

After I had a relaxing breath or two... I plugged my cord into a different outlet. It was for my computer.. but I also very carefully checked the cord for any flaws and such, but it's pretty new, so it looked good.

I know that a good deal of house fires are started by faulty electrical outlets... so what I want to ask of any electircians here is... is this some normal occurence that I was unaware of.. due to me flinging the cord out of the socket the way I did... or is this something that ought to be looked at by an electrician asap?

It is my mothers house rather than mine... so I definitely plan on letting her know once she wakes... but I thought it would also be nice to let her know with any information gathered here available to her as well.

Thank you every/anyone!

Fear not! I shall not mess with that outlet!
It sounds like the hot lead came loose or rubbed through touching the ground or neutral. But not exactly touching to the point of tripping the breaker which is worse because there is actually arcing going on inside the outlet. It should be looked at Imeditly. I would Turn the breaker off untel you can have it inspected. I once did a job for a lady where they used to use metal staples they stapled right through the wire and it was 20 years before it became a problem but after time things do move and it was all burnt inside the wall. The sooner you have it looked at the better you will feel about it.. Electrician By Trade
Hey Squishy,
First of all, your lucky to be alive!!! The reason the arc would have occured was because you pulled the cord out so quickly! Electricity takes the path of least resistance and with you doing this, the electricity would have still been flowing, hence the reason you saw it. Im a fully qualified sparky, both commercial and domestic, so il be happy to help you take a look yourself if you want, as long as the breaker is off you will be 100% safe! Only one question I do have for you in order for me to help a little more, whats an outlet?
Im from England you see, and im sure I know what it is but im guessing we call it different things!
Thanks shawn!

Hiya Oddyse!

An outlet would be that there hole in the wall into which one sticks the end of cords. You could call it an innie, too, I suppose!

So you're saying that if I hadn't done it so quick, I would've been toast? Or that the electricity wouldn't have come out in the first place if I hadn't pulled on it so?

I really appreciate the offer, very kind indeed!
Unfortunately, I have no inner werewithal for the prying into of confusing places

I know my mom, who owns the house, did mention perhaps asking the boarder fellow here to have a look at it... hes pretty handy... but if mom ends up deciding on that route, she might very well appreciate some advice to insure he doesen't break anything!

I'll send her over here and we can see what she says....

Thanks again.. both of you
Although I hate to admit that I do it, I pull cords out like that quite a bit and have never ever had electricity come shooting out like that!! It's just a lazy thing I think and I don't want to walk all the way over there to pull it out. I don't think it was because you pulled it out like you did. I think you have another issue at hand. I would get someone to look at it whether it be a handyman or qualified electrician. Do as shawnj72 said and flip the breaker until it's looked at. Also if by chance it was from you pulling it like that the breaker should have flipped!! If not then it may be faulty too.
Oh.. Cacky.. no, I didn't pull it out the way you're thinking.

I pulled it from the designated prong area, and I pulled it hard and quick and threw the cord away from me at the same time, because I was on high alert from that buzzing sound I heard.

Silly silly girl that I am... I have never been the one that 'goes out to check the breakers' or such... so I never even thought about trying to flip the breaker... I just thought (early in the morning too
) that there was only one way to help the problem at that moment.... So I decided to yank the cord.
I was concerned about the cord maybe having a break in the covering or something.. and I didn't want to have it too long in my hand either.. so thats part of the reason I yanked it from the 'right' spot... LOL
Plugs are designed (well these days anyway) to be pretty impossible to shock you. If you look at another plug, you will notice on the two shorter pins there is a black section, well this is plastic! Its there to stop you blowing yourself up when removing the plug. There isn't really much that can go wrong with (what we call a socket). The buzzing sound, is it still happening now? If it is, definitely switch the breaker, not the main switch, just the one for the circuit in question. But if you leave it alone until someone can come look you will be ok. If its not making the noise anymore, which im guessing it isn't, then the problem would be in the plug you put into it. The fact you saw such a large spark does concern me though. I work on 70 000volts + and this doesn't usually spark, so 240volts (standard house supply) should not be able to do that!
THINGS TO DO (if you want

1: check to see if its still buzzing, if yes, get someone to switch the breaker and check the outlet, you could do this if you wanted to save $$$$ from a sparky!
2: If its not buzzing, try another plug in there (Switch breaker off, put plug in, switch breaker on, go check it BUT DONT TOUCH IT!)
3: If it starts buzzing when the new plug is in, its the outlet thats faulty so do step 1.
4: If it doesnt buzz, chances are its ok.
5. TO BE SUPER SAFE, which is always good, have a look to see if all the wires are ok inside, this should really be done regardless. Its pretty simple, inside the outlet looks the same as inside the plug.

BUT PLEASE, MAKE SURE BREAKER IS OFF BEFORE DOING ANYTHING! I have had a shock from 240volts before, its hurts like hell but wont kill you, the current is too low. Hope this has been more a help than just confusing!
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Oh I know...don't worry please.
Squishy said if it caught fire she would throw the dog and her hamster out the window and then follow them....no mention of getting me out the house

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